Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Be a Social Media Go-Giver

I recently read “The Go-Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea” by Bob Burg and John David Mann. The book focuses on the principle that you get what you give, and it lists important laws to follow in order to attain success in business. One of the laws, “The Law of Influence,” struck me as most true for marketers entering the social media arena. This law states, “Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.”

While this is true for real-world business situations, online communities are also great places to apply this principle. First and foremost in marketers’ minds should be the thought, “What can I do for the social media community?”, and not “What can this community do for me?” Think about what your brand can contribute to the community that would be of value to its members. Can you offer helpful advice or special coupons that they can’t get elsewhere? Can you design a widget that provides news updates or other exclusive content? If you can entertain them or meet some other need, you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

Real World Examples

An example of this is, who offers a free widget service on their website that is fully compatible with your social networking accounts. They allow you to create your own widget, imbed it directly into your Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, etc, profile, and even share it with your friends. The community benefits- they can stream good quality music that is catered to their individual tastes, and benefits- they have increased its client base and awareness of its product.

In June, Visa launched The Visa Business Network on Facebook. As part of the launch, they offered the first 20,000 businesses to register on the network a $100 advertising credit. Not only can the businesses also gain direct access to other businesses, they also have access to the variety of free business tools provided via the network. And Visa, through these offerings that are catered to the business community’s objectives, increases their position as a trusted advisor to the business community.

This past holiday season, RetailMeNot teamed up with Oxfam for its Goats for Gadgets campaign. They pledged to donate a farmyard animal for every widget that was downloaded from their site. This animal, goat, pig, sheep, etc, was then donated in your name to a needy family. This approach appealed to the giving spirit that surrounds the holiday, and allowed the users cost-free way to make a donation. RetailMeNot gave to the community, and the community gave back by using the widget to assist them in their holiday shopping.

Give Back to the Community

The main message behind “The Go-Giver” is that success comes to those who focus on “giving” and not on “getting”. In order to get ahead in life or business, you have to stop putting the focus on yourself, and instead put it on others. Responding to the needs and desires of an online community brings about more than just good karma. It helps to establish a feeling of good-will that makes people more receptive to your message and helps build positive relationships with your customers.

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